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Fashion, Food

Rocks, Moose, Fish, and Chips: Confused in Newfoundland

Posted by Chip / July 3, 2006

My latest Chips Expedition, or ChipspeditionTM, took me to Canada’s easternmost province, Newfoundland and Labrador (I didn’t actually make it to the Labrador part so you’ll excuse me if I leave that off of future references), and its easternmost city, St. John’s. Now I truly wasn’t expecting to find much in the way of exciting new chip flavours, but early in the trip, a sign from the heavens raised my expectations. While struggling to make it back to the hotel with a drenching walk down from Signal Hill, I stumbled upon a distinctly marked little street - Hill O’ Chips. I had vividly dreamed about such a hill in the past – a hill that I could jump into like a pile of leaves on a cool autumn afternoon, and eat my way out – and now I had found it. Hill O’ Chips wasn’t in fact made of potatoey-goodness, but was a clear indication that St. John’s had much to offer, and as such, I took my cue to search for the next, newest taste.

Disappointingly, none of the pubs in town seemed to know what I was looking for. Pub after pub, every time I ordered something & chips, I was served a plate of French fries. I mean, it was as if the street should have been named Hill O’ French Fries. This was North America, dammit! Chips should mean potato chips. Alas, distraught, I waundered into Auntie Crae’s on Water Street - a delightful little specialty grocery store in the heart of downtown. On display in front of the entrance was a rack of Walkers product imported from England. thaisweetchili.jpgYes, the English call them crisps, but they can be forgiven based on the complex variety they provide. After passing on Green Onion, and Lamb with Mint Sauce, I settled on Thai Sweet Chilli. (Auntie Crae had other goodies in the store that really must be tried by everyone, including their special Guiness Cheese which goes great with Wheat Thins.)

The British flavour experts must be complemented. Now, not everyone enjoys spice on their chip, but this little bag of crisps wasn’t meant to burn your taste buds. Thai Sweet Chilli was just that – Sweet and crunchy with a little spicy kick. . I couldn’t eat slow enough, trying to savor each bite from the undersized bag. If this chip was more readily available, I might go so far as to say this would be my newest flavour of choice. Imagine eating a standard Thai sauté, excluding the rice or noodle; now add a little salt and crispiness. If you can’t imagine that, you’ll have to head to your nearest British goods import store and pick up a bag to try it out, you won’t be disappointed.

Chips aside, Newfoundland had much to offer the casual visitor. It doesn’t take long to understand why the easternmost Canadian province has received the nickname the Rock. A geologist’s holy land, Newfoundland’s landscape provides rocky remnants of Earth’s ancient history. Gros Morne national park, in particular, provides evidence of tectonic plate theory of continental drift with its peculiar yet fascinating landscape, comprised of glacially carved ponds and billion year old rocks from varying levels of the Earth’s crust.
Also, I may be wrong but I’m pretty sure that there’s only one, maybe two, regions in the world that one can enjoy Moose Vindaloo at a dinner party. As it were, I found myself sitting down to eat this Indian-Canadian (?) delicacy in cozy Rocky Harbour, on the west coast of Newfoundland. The island is littered with Moose (around 100,000 at last count), so it’s not hard to find it on the menu in stew or burger form at local restaurants in numerous remote communities. It’s also not hard to run into them on the highway, so drive carefully.



Jer / July 6, 2006 at 05:37 pm
Hill O Chips. That is the best thing I have seen all week. It gives me hope that one day chips will be a central part of most urban planning initiatives.
Sara / July 6, 2006 at 07:46 pm
you've got to try the lamb and mint, yo. it's a meat-crazy vegetarian's best friend.

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